There hasn’t been a whole lot of parity in the NFL over the past two decades, and there’s only one team to blame.

The New England Patriots have been nearly unstoppable throughout the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. The Pats have played in nine of the last 18 Super Bowls, winning six, with their latest Lombardi Trophy coming via this past Sunday’s 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

For non-Patriots players around the league, it likely is frustrating to see New England reach the Super Bowl or get awfully close seemingly every season. But if you ask one ex-Patriot, you need to either put up or shut up when it comes to Brady, Belichick and Co.

Hicks, whose Chicago Bears fell in heartbreaking fashion in the divisional round, spent the 2015 campaign with the Patriots, who narrowly fell to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game that season. While his colleagues might not feel the same way about the Pats, it’s tough to argue with Hicks’ sentiment.

New England typically enters each season with a sizeable target on its back, but it likely will be even bigger than usual when the team embarks on the 2019 campaign as defending Super Bowl champs.

Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports